Dr. Peter Boxall's "1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006 edition)"

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Each work of literature listed here is a seminal work key to understanding and appreciating the written word. These works have been handpicked by a team of international critics and literary luminaries, including Derek Attridge (world expert on James Joyce), Cedric Watts (renowned authority on Joseph Conrad and Graham Greene), Laura Marcus (noted Virginia Woolf expert), and David Mariott (poet and expert on African-American literature), among some twenty others. (Description from Amazon.com)

This is a community list. You can contribute, edit, or help maintain it by adding it to your lists. Please do not remove or add titles that will change this list from how it appears in 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die edited by Peter Boxall with an introduction by Peter Ackroyd.

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  1. 601.
    Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
    by Winifred Watson

  2. 602.
    Nausea (New Directions Paperbook)
    by Jean-Paul Sartre

  3. 603.
    by Daphne Du Maurier

  4. 604.
    Cause for Alarm
    by Eric Ambler

  5. 605.
    Brighton Rock (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
    by Graham Greene

  6. 606.

  7. 607.
    Murphy (Beckett, Samuel)
    by Samuel Beckett

  8. 608.
    Of Mice and Men
    by John Steinbeck

  9. 609.
    Their Eyes Were Watching God
    by Zora Neale Hurston

  10. 610.
    by J.R.R. Tolkien

  11. 611.
    The Years
    by Virginia Woolf

  12. 612.
    In Parenthesis (New York Review Books)
    by David Jones

  13. 613.
    Revenge for Love (Penguin Modern Classics)
    by Wyndham Lewis

  14. 614.
    Out of Africa (Modern Library 100 Best Nonfiction Books)
    by Isak Dinesen

  15. 615.
    To Have and Have Not
    by Ernest Hemingway

  16. 616.
    Summer Will Show (Virago Modern Classics)
    by Sylvia Townsend Warner

  17. 617.
    Eyeless in Gaza
    by Aldous Huxley

  18. 618.
    The Thinking Reed
    by Rebecca West

  19. 619.
    Gone with the Wind
    by Margaret Mitchell

  20. 620.
    Keep the Aspidistra Flying
    by George Orwell

  21. 621.
    Wild Harbour (Canongate Classic, 27)
    by Ian MacPherson

  22. 622.
    Absalom, Absalom! The Corrected Text
    by William Faulkner

  23. 623.
    At the Mountains of Madness: And Other Tales of Terror
    by H. P. Lovecraft

  24. 624.
    by Djuna Barnes

  25. 625.
    Independent People
    by Halldor Laxness

  26. 626.
    by Elias Canetti

  27. 627.
    The Last of Mr. Norris
    by Christopher Isherwood

  28. 628.
    They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (Midnight Classics)
    by Horace McCoy

  29. 629.
    The House in Paris
    by Elizabeth Bowen

  30. 630.
    England Made Me
    by Graham Greene

  31. 631.
    Burmese Days: A Novel
    by George Orwell

  32. 632.
    The Nine Tailors
    by Dorothy L. Sayers

  33. 633.
    Threepenny novel
    by Bertolt Brecht

  34. 634.
    Novel with Cocaine (European Classics)
    by M. Ageyev

  35. 635.
    The Postman Always Rings Twice
    by James M. Cain

  36. 636.
    Tropic of Cancer
    by Henry Miller

  37. 637.
    A Handful of Dust
    by Evelyn Waugh

  38. 638.
    Tender Is the Night
    by F. Scott Fitzgerald

  39. 639.
    Thank You, Jeeves (A Jeeves and Bertie Novel)
    by P. G. Wodehouse

  40. 640.
    Call It Sleep: A Novel
    by Henry Roth

  41. 641.
    Miss Lonelyhearts
    by Nathanael West

  42. 642.
    Murder Must Advertise (Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries)
    by Dorothy L. Sayers

  43. 643.
    The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas
    by Gertrude Stein

  44. 645.
    A Day Off
    by Storm Jameson

  45. 646.
    The Man Without Qualities
    by Robert Musil

  46. 647.
    Scots Quair (Tr) (Canongate)
    by Lewis Grassic Gibbon

  47. 648.
    Journey to the End of the Night
    by Louis-Ferdinand Celine

  48. 649.
    Brave New World
    by Aldous Huxley

  49. 650.
    Cold Comfort Farm (Penguin Modern Classics)
    by Stella Gibbons

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This is a community list. You can contribute, edit, or help maintain it by adding it to your lists.
Created by starlagurl on Mar 27, 2006.


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I just don't get it. — 7 years ago

I guess I’m in the “argue with the editor” camp for this list. I’ve read about 9% of the list, because about 90% of it is modern/postmodern stuff that, well, I can live without. And even though I adore Jane Austen, did she need to be on there five times?

6% — 7 years ago

I’m a heavy reader (everything with letters on it appeals me, in fact), and nevertheless, there is so much here I haven’t even heard of. I noticed I tend to XIXth century literature and contemporary classics are unknown for me, I’ll try to keep up with that.
BTW, finally a list that includes The Unbearable lightness of being, one of my favourites but overlooked in many of the others book lists.

4% — 7 years ago

Very extensive list – but too many on here that I’m not even remotely interested in reading. Best of luck to those who try though.

fascinating list — 7 years ago

I like the fact that this list isn’t the same as most of the other lists out there – an exciting mix of books of different genres. Authors I’ve heard of and others I’ve never heard of. I’ve been using this list to make up my own list of books to get from the library.

Going to go home now, make mushroom soup and curl up in bed with a book.

And yes, I know I read a lot. I have a little book problem sort of like some people have a little heroin problem.

1001 Nights — 7 years ago

I removed the manga version of this book, and had to replace it with a pictureless link to accurately show that the list includes the original version of The Thousand and One Nights.

3% — 7 years ago

I’ve read 3% of the list, pretty shameful for me, I’m a heavy reader. I read on average between 50 and 100 books a year not including what I read for classes. I have read a lot that ISN’T on this list though.

2 % — 7 years ago

It’s amazing to think of how many books are out there in the world. I read and read and read while growing up, sometimes that would be all I would do. I’m starting to read again but yet out of 1001 books I’ve barely managed to make 2 percent. I think I’m going to make it a goal to try to read one every other month on the list. I know it will take me forever to complete but I think it will be a goal I’ll enjoy.

AHH! — 7 years ago

Someone removed part of the list description, altered book versions, removed over 20 books for the list, and changed the order!!!

Please, whoever is messing with the list, STOP. This is a definitive list, which means books should not be removed that you do not agree with.

Ummm — 7 years ago

Why are people going through & changing the versions of the books that are listed?

I was looking through the list for inspiration & found that some things I HAVE read (and had ticked off) are now listed as different versions and so NOT ticked off! (ie “Life of Pi” is now listed as “Life of Pi: Student Edition”. I’m GUESSING it’s the same book & not an ‘easier picture book version’…)

So now I’m curious as to why this has become necessary.


This is a great, short article — 7 years ago

It’s a short interview with Peter Boxall, the editor of the book and one of its contributors. Check it out.

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